Why Caffeine May Affect Fertility

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In most doctors’ advice to women looking to get pregnant, avoiding caffeine is generally recognized as a staple. Cut down on the coffee, boost your chances of becoming pregnant. A brand new study has found out why this may be true, so women can understand why they should grab a bottle of water instead of that energy drink.

Caffeine reduces muscle activity in the fallopian tubes, which carry eggs from a woman’s ovaries to her womb. The new experiments were conducted in mice, but this finding goes a long way towards explaining why drinking caffeinated drinks can reduce a woman’s chance of becoming pregnant. It is published now in the “British Journal of Pharmacology.”

Human eggs are microscopically small, but need to travel to a woman’s womb if she is going to have a successful pregnancy. Although the process is essential for a successful pregnancy, scientists know little about how eggs move through the muscular fallopian tubes. It was generally assumed that “cilia” (tiny hair-like projections) in the lining of the tubes escort eggs along assisted by muscle contractions in the tube walls.

In the new study, the researchers discovered that caffeine stops the actions of specialized cells in the wall of the tubes. These cells coordinate tube contractions, so that when they are prevented from working, eggs can’t move down the tubes. In fact, these muscle contractions play a bigger role than the beating cilia in moving the egg towards the womb.

Therein lies the intriguing explanation as to why women with high caffeine consumption often have a more difficult time conceiving. This discovery carries benefits for a huge portion of the population — and doctors as well.

This finding helps women who are trying to get pregnant. But it also provides doctors a better understanding of how the fallopian tubes work so they can better treat pelvic inflammation and sexually-transmitted disease. It also may help explain “ectopic” pregnancy, where embryos get stuck in the tube and begin developing, causing an extremely painful and dangerous situation.

Pass this nugget of health news along to those you know who are actively trying to get pregnant. And, if you all into this category yourself, when you go out for a coffee, make it a decaf.

Also read: Caffeine Allergy: Is Coffee Intolerance Real?